Some dude gave me a facial last week.And I’m pretty sure it was one of the more amazing things that have ever happened to me. And strangely enough, probably the thing that made me the least uncomfortable.

A few days ago I made my very first trip to a spa, a three-hour little jaunt that a friend of mine took me to as a gift for being amazing (I’m pretty sure). It took almost a full week of prodding and probing to get me to even consider the idea and a full day of reminders just to make sure I went. I gave in and told myself I’d do nothing but enjoy it.

On the drive up, I was assured that every single day men went to this very same spa and did the very same things that I was about to do and came out the very same way, rejuvenated and reenergized.

Still uneasy, I walked in and I was introduced to my Spa Man, Jessie (not his real name). My friend was introduced to her way-hot Spa Woman, Tiffany (the name she gave us, but probably not her real one either). They walked off to another room and I was left alone with Jessie.

Japanese hot-rock massage. Normal man-hand massage. A facial, passing on the cucumbers (I needed to watch Jessie’s every move). A steam-room (the one time I was mercifully alone). Hot-tub soak, complete with little lilac-scented globes that sprayed a relaxing mist over the entire room. A mud bath, with mud that smelled like the tastiest, cleanest mud in the world. If I’d been shown to an open bar and fed lobster I’d have considered staying for life.

And then, the foot massage. As an “added bonus,” it came complete with a pedicure. I can barely touch my own feet while flinching, but Jessie handled them like a cowboy taming a steer. Telling him my feet were too sensitive only got me a reply of

“Oh, I’ll just hold them down” and off he went, one hand grasping my ankle like a bear-trap while the other one invaded parts of my feet foreign even to my most worn-out pair of socks.

He grasped, he groped, and he furiously filed down my toenails and cracked knuckles.

Jessie didn’t see my tears. Enemies must never sense weakness.

After my feet recovered, I walked myself over to the changing room, head down, shamed. Going to a spa felt like being manhandled. And as if what had already been done just wasn’t enough, Jessie walked in on me in my underwear to hand my back my necklace. He didn’t even look me in the eyes before he walked away. I felt used.

Exhausted and slightly violated, I rode back in near silence. I tried shaking away the feeling of Jessie’s fingers on my feet, but his grip was just as strong on my mind.

On the way home we stopped for a meal. Steak, potatoes and a few scotches, on the rocks. I needed something manly, something that didn’t smell like flowers and lotion, something free of hot oils and perfumes. Something I could enjoy without a burly pair of hairy man-mitts rubbing up on my shoulders and massaging my calves.

I do regret not wearing a nice pair of open-toed sandals, though. Toenails this nice deserve to be shown off.

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